Saying yes. When I think about saying yes I think of these two questions – If you say yes, what are you saying no to? (hint: you probably saying no to yourself too often) and – what if you said yes to that opportunity?
I want to focus on the latter for a moment. Imagine that you said yes to every opportunity that came your way? Shonda Rhimes did for a whole year and it changed her life. It could change yours too. But what if I encouraged you to say yes to opportunities even when they don’t seem appealing or those which might be painful in addition to all of the wonderful ones we *really* want to do?
The benefits of self-employment
I was doing a masterclass recently and I was talking about this. I gave the example of being self-employed. For me, taking the plunge into self-employment has provided me so many amazing opportunities – like being my own boss, working the hours I want, complete autonomy of creating ideas and implementing them and working in the areas I am really passionate about (women in business and leadership FYI). Awesome.
But in saying yes to all of those life-changing opportunities I also said yes to instability in the short term as I build the business and learn the ropes; feeling vulnerable and lonely sometimes, *all* the admin and boring stuff I don’t want to do, having to fix tech issues myself and have my kids with me on live videos more often than I care for….and the fear of doing it wrong or not being good enough that washes over me regularly.
That was and is the reality. Being self-employed has its ups and downs – but I know that. I looked into it as much as I needed before I jumped in headfirst. For me, the positives outweigh the negatives and so it was well worth saying yes to.
It’s time to explore
I believe that if something draws us in or creates a spark of excitement it is worth exploring further. Saying yes allows us to rationalise our fears (which is most often where a ‘no’ comes from) and having the courage to do the things we want to do and those we don’t.
“We spend our whole lives worrying about the future, planning for the future, trying to predict the future, as if figuring it out will cushion the blow. But the future is always changing. The future is the home of our deepest fears and wildest hopes. But one thing is certain when it finally reveals itself. The future is never the way we imagined it” – Shonda Rhimes
“Ask not why, but why not”
Why should I do that I hear you cry? Well, because so many of us wait until the right time to take an opportunity or for it to arrive. The truth is that there is no ‘right time’ – it simply does not exist. Now is the only time that we have so why not say yes? If we say no to opportunity (and to ourselves) then we close the door and that chance won’t come up again – at least not in the same way. I have a friend who turns down the things in front of them through indecision and fear and they often regret it in the long term. Life and luck favour the bold.
The other thing worth remembering is that when someone (including yourself) offers you a gift then they are doing that because they believe in you; if they didn’t, they wouldn’t offer it. In saying yes you might find out for yourself what they already know – that you are more than capable.
How to say yes
If saying yes scares you – great, you are on the right path! But seriously, start small. Say yes to the things you want e.g. going out for coffee with a friend or taking that new job. Once you are more confident in saying yes then you can build up to the things that scare you, that might not be so appealing like:
- Applying for a new job that you would love but have a fear you won’t be shortlisted
- Going to a networking event
- Public speaking
- Enlisting a coach/mentor to challenge you
Remember also to say yes to yourself once in a while. In fact, I would recommend doing that regularly.
Maybe you know exactly what it is you dream of being, or maybe you’re paralyzed because you have no idea what your passion is. The truth is, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to know. You just have to keep moving forward. You just have to keep doing something, seizing the next opportunity, staying open to trying something new. – Shonda Rhimes